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Knee-Jerk Reactions: UCF 49, Temple 7

Mikey Keene has a career day as the Knights clobbered the Owls

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 16 UCF at Cincinnati Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It didn’t take any miracle plays or cause fans to stress out as the UCF Knights scored once and never looked back, making short work of the Temple Owls 49-7. It’s knee-jerk reaction time.

The passing game breaks out

It’s typical coach-speak to take what the defense gives you. Temple was extremely shorthanded going into this game with the top two tacklers out as well as a starting cornerback. While it took the Knights a little to get rolling, the engine got moving and they took advantage of mistake after mistake the Owls gave them. The Owls stacked the box and dared Mikey Keene to throw the ball.

Challenge accepted.

Despite a few errant throws and drops, Keene had his best day as a Knight, going 15/21 for a career-best 229 yards and career-best five touchdowns and one interception. Temple’s defense is bad on all sides, but they were missing a lot, which only made it worse. Temple had late scratches to their top two tacklers(safety and linebacker) and a starting cornerback. The Knights were able to exploit that and it turned into a career day for Keene.

There were some areas of concern still. Keene still has a tendency to throw into double coverage, especially on deep routes. The interception he threw was a simply dreadful pass that ended up becoming a dodged bullet as it was fumbled and recovered by UCF. That doesn’t take away from how bad the throw was. Still, there is cause for optimism with Keene being as efficient as you could be in the third quarter before being pulled.

The rest of the offense was efficient. The Knights held on to the ball for over 28 minutes, which they’ve been doing over the last few games. While some fans are frustrated with the style of play, it’s part of the adjustment to some of the challenges the team has to deal with. UCF was 6/11 on third down, which is considerably better than in previous games.

The defense had a monster jam and they’re on fire. Boomshakalaka!

NBA Jam was a great game.

The defense did it again and in a good way. They nearly pitched a complete game shutout before giving up a solo shot in the ninth inning. The Knights held the Owls to only 297 yards of offense. 167 was in the air and 130 on the ground. With 69 plays run, which was four more than UCF, they only averaged 4.3 yards per play versus UCF’s 6.6. This is attributable to all three levels of the defense. The defense pressured D’Wan Mathis and later Justin Lynch, netting four sacks and six total tackles for loss. They also forced a pair of fumbles and recovered them both. The offense forced and recovered one of their own. Outside of a 20-yard run by Malik Cooper in the first quarter, it wasn’t until the end of the game when Temple scored their only points that UCF gave up another 20+ yard play. Their ability to prevent big plays and stop drives helped get the offense back on the field. Temple went 7/18 on third down and 1/3 on fourth down.

Almost there

With five wins, UCF is only a game away from bowl eligibility and could become eligible next week at home against Tulane. Despite the injuries and challenges UCF has faced this year, this is a good accomplishment. As UCF continues to win, they will make themselves look better to conference affiliated bowl games. There are four that are contracted to play against P5 opponents: the Military, Fenway, Birmingham, and Gasparilla. Fans should want one of those four versus some of the other options.

Uniform review

UCF brought back the white Knightro jersey, one that I wish stayed dead and buried. They paired it with the white helmet(reminder that UCF is stuck with white helmets this year due to supply shortages) that had the script “Knights” on one side and the block logo on the other in gold chrome with a gold chrome stripe. The gold chrome got lost in the white helmet on the field due to the sun shining down when zoomed out. There was no contrast, but again, shell limitations. The script logo in any color is downright gorgeous and I want to see more of it. It’s unfortunately mitigated by having the block logo on the other side. It doesn’t allow the script to stand alone and shine. It needs to be on both sides. The only change I’d do to it is to revise it for a black outline for when it’s on lighter helmet shells. This was probably originally meant for a different color shell. It’s been a historical pattern that UCF keeps the block logo somewhere on the helmet. They need to be willing to deviate. Don’t worry, everyone knows who UCF is.

The white Knightro jersey has been my lowest-rated jersey since UCF moved to their second Nike template in 2013. It’s a jumbled mess. The black collar makes the neckline disappear. Gold numbers struggle on white jerseys to begin with and the shading is rather light compared to the gold UCF uses in their logos. The Knightro head on the side is forgettable. It’s rather small and leaves a lot of white space. A minimalist option can work, but you need the various pieces to work together and this one doesn’t do it. This particular jersey needs to stay away.

Stat Leaders

UCF: Mikey Keene: 15/21 for 229 yards, 5 TD, 1 Int
TEM: D’Wan Mathis: 16/30 for 121 yards, 0TD, 0 Int

UCF: Isaiah Bowser: 19 carry for 89 yards, 1 TD
TEM: Ra’Von Bonner: 7 carries for 35 yards, 0 TD

UCF: Ryan O’Keefe: 6 catches for 72 yards, 2 TD
TEM: Randle Jones: 4 catches for 26 yards, 0 TD

Game Notes

  • UCF leads the series 7-2
  • Mikey Keene set a personal high with 229 yards. His previous high was 194 yards.
  • Mikey Keene set a personal high with five touchdown passes. He had five career passing touchdowns coming into the game.
  • This was UCF’s first game against an FBS where they scored more than 40 points since South Florida in 2020.
  • The last time UCF won by at least 42 points was against Temple in 2019. This was an away game as well.
  • Sorry it’s not my best, but the white Knightro jerseys made me ill.